Critter Science

The Science of Animals


The Laughing Kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra is the largest of the kingfishers. They are also the loudest! They have a loud call that sounds much like a laugh and they release this call right around twilight. There are 4 different recognized species of kookaburra: Rufous-bellied kookaburra (Dacelo gaudichaud), Spangled kookaburra (Dacelo tyro), Blue-winged kookaburra (Dacelo leachii), and of course the Laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae). The laughing kookaburra was once called the giant kingfisher. The year-round laughing song advertises territorial ownership, as does the chuckle, which is also used to find missing family members.

First the Stats…

Scientific name: Dacelo novaeguineae
Weight: 11 oz.
Height: 18 inches
Wingspan: Up to 25 inches
Lifespan: 11 – 15 years (in the wild) | Up to 20 years (in captivity)

Now on to the Facts!

1.) Forests, open woodlands, or on the edges of plains in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea.

2.) The laughing kookaburra eats insects, reptiles, frogs, and rodents. They actually seldom eat fish.

3.) When they spot prey, they will swoop down, grab it with its bill, then it carries its food back to a perch and beats it several times against the branch to kill and soften their food. Then the food is swallowed head whole, head first.

4.) Laughing kookaburras have been known to prey on chicks and ducklings on farms.

5.) Getting all their moisture from their food, the kookaburra never needs to drink water!

But wait, there’s more on the kookaburra!

6.) Females lay 1 – 5 eggs, which are looked after by a group composed of parents and older siblings. Young kookaburras generally stay with their parents to help look after the subsequent clutch.

7.) Although known for being an Australian bird, kookaburras are also found in New Guinea.

Did you know…?
They are also known as the bushman’s alarm clock.

8.) All Kookaburras are rated as being of ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List.

9.) These birds are monogamous (mate for life)!

10.) The kookaburra use the same nest hole each year.

Now a Short Kookaburra Video!

Learn more about all kinds of cool critters here.

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Critter Man

With over 40 years of critter experience to my credit and hundreds of zoology teaching hours to people around the world, I have amassed not only a continuing thirst for critter knowledge but a desire to teach others all I can about the majesty and wonder of our natural world. Critter Science is a culmination of such knowledge.I have hands on as well as book acquired intel on all kinds of critters. Whether they're on land, sea, or air.I will never say that I know everything about all animals. That's impossible, even for a savant. But, that being said, ask me any animal question and I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I'll get an answer for you!Let it be said that I have been oft times accused of loving animals more than I love people. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

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